MSU Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2010: Percy Snow

Oct. 2, 2010

Football (1986-89)
Canton, Ohio


One of the most decorated Spartan football players of all time, Percy Snow became first player in college football history to win both the Butkus Award (top linebacker) and the Lombardi Award (top lineman) in the same year (1989). A two-time first-team All-American and three-time first-team All-Big Ten selection, Snow led the Spartans in tackles for three consecutive seasons (1987-89) and still ranks second in the MSU history books in tackles (473).

Snow burst onto the scene his sophomore year in 1987, racking up 127 tackles and collecting first-team All-Big Ten honors as he was a member of the famed "Gang Green" defense that led the Spartans to the Big Ten Championship and a victory in the 1988 Rose Bowl against Southern California. He was named the MVP of the Rose Bowl after collecting 17 tackles (15 unassisted) against the Trojans.

Snow's favorite memory of that magical season was actually after the fact.

"After we won and came home, and we were greeted at the airport, with the fans and support, I think that right there was it for me," said Snow. "That was the benchmark acceptance. When we stepped off that plane and I was holding that Rose Bowl MVP trophy up in the air, that was the fondest moment for me."

After having established himself as one of the top linebackers in the country following MSU's Big Ten Championship season, Snow's next two seasons put him in a rare class among the nation's elite.

"There's no other place like Michigan State. Every time I come back to the university, I see a glow. It lights up, it starts all over again for me."
- Percy Snow

He set a then-school record with 164 tackles as a junior, then broke his own record with 172 stops as a senior, which ranked first in the Big Ten in 1989. That mark still stands as second most in an MSU season. Snow, who turned in 11 performances of double-digit tackles in 1989 and notched a career-high 23 takedowns against Illinois, finished eighth in the Heisman Trophy voting that season in addition to winning both the Butkus and Lombardi Awards.

The hard-hitting linebacker was selected to MSU's Centennial Super Squad in 1996 in a poll conducted by the Lansing State Journal. Following his All-America Spartan career, he was chosen by the Kansas City Chiefs in the first round of the NFL Draft (No. 13 overall).

Snow has never forgotten his time at Michigan State, and still loves coming back to East Lansing. In fact, he said his favorite memory during his college days was stepping foot on campus for the first time, knowing he would have the opportunity to play football at a Big Ten school.

"The biggest moment for me was when I (first) got here," he said. "They don't get too many kids really coming out of high school. The opportunity for me to even come here, I knew it was the place for me.

"There's no other place like Michigan State. When I talked to other guys I played with and where they went to college, you don't hear that kind of communication between them and universities. I know some guys that hadn't even back to their university since they'd left - once they went to school, it's like it was all over with. But when I come here, every time I come back to the university, I see a glow. It lights up, it starts all over again for me."

With his impressive credentials, it was only a matter of time for Snow to be included in the MSU Athletics Hall of Fame.

"This is the honor that actually puts the stepping stone to what I've accomplished, and really, not just what I've accomplished, but the university, the former players, the coaching staff, what we've accomplished together," Snow said on the day of his induction in the Hall of Fame. "This might be an individual award, but it's just a conglomeration of different players and coaches that helped me achieve this award. I might be accepting it, but like I said, there's a lot of guys that paved the way also."